PokerStars 10th Anniversary review: WCOOP
In the early months of the year 2002, PokerStars was excited to see its 100th player sign up. It was the kind of excitement that gave birth to an idea: what if PokerStars could host an online version of the World Series of Poker? What if PokerStars could be the home to the definitive, undisputed home of online poker's greatest champions. Just a few months later, the World Championship of Online Poker was born. It started in 2002 with nine events, the first of which ($109 Limit Hold'em) drew 656 players.
When that first event was finished, "fingaz" had claimed the very first WCOOP title and more than $15,000 in prize money. The next week, "MultiMarine," a player from Sweden won the very first WCOOP main event after defeating a field of 238 players. That championship was worth $65,450.
Since then, WCOOP has become has become the poker world's coolest monster. Each year, it hosts dozens of events. Since 2002, it's awarded more than $266 million in prize money. In 2010 alone, the main event prize pool reached a staggering $12,215,000. WCOOP is, without question, the most prestigious tournament series online.
WCOOP has run ten times on PokerStars during the company's ten-year history. During that time, WCOOP has both produced brand new poker stars and validated the stardom of many more. Take JC 'area23JC' Tran, for instance. By 2006, Tran was already an established live player who had won more than $1 million playing live tournaments. That year, he turned his talents to the online world and won the WCOOP main event. It was worth more than $670,000.
Tran wasn't the only live star to hit big in WCOOP. In 2009 Yevgeniy
"Jovial Gent" Timoshenko won a WPT title for more than $2 million. Just a few months later, he won the WCOOP main event for more than $1.7 million.
"Jovial Gent" Timoshenko
Though Tran and Timoshenko were live stars, WCOOP main event titles weren't reserved for people who traveled the circuit all the time or had millions in live winnings. One only needed to look at Carter 'ckingusc' King's 2008 win for evidence of that. Though King had put up some decent cashes in 2008 at the WSOP, he was not a well-known live rounder at the time. It only took WCOOP to make him a certified star. His 2008 WCOOP main event championship put $1,265,432 in his pocket.
Over the years, members of PokerStars' stable of Team Pros and Team Online players have made significant marks on WCOOP as well. Back in 2007, Vanessa 'LadyMaverick' Rousso made the final table of the main event and pulled in second place money. In 2011, Noah "Exclusive" Boeken won his first WCOOP bracelet in the $320 Mixed Hold'em 6-Max event.
WCOOP bracelets are some of the hardest trophies to win in poker. Winning more than one is something only a few people have done. Only three people in the world have won three. Those belong to Daniel "djk123" Kelly, Ryan "g0lfa" D'Angelo, and Team PokerStars Online's Anders "Donald" Berg.
Over the years, we have seen many tournament series come and go. Throughout it all, WCOOP has remained the biggest, most important, and most prestigious of them all. Keep your eyes on the PokerStars WCOOP page for what's to come in 2012 when WCOOP celebrates is eleventh running.
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We are publishing these daily review articles throughout November as PokerStars gears up to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
Milestones to go before we sleep
World Cup of Poker
The Bear Necessities
SCOOP, hold the front page
Slaying the EPT monkey
When two cards just won't do
ElkY, one name says it all
Going live at the PCA
It's a bling thing
Online wizards cast their spell
The EPT circus
Making world champions